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For those looking for a rewards card geared toward Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a great option.
There are other versions of the card that have lower fees with the same reward structure. However, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card includes some other benefits that really set it apart.
Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Southwest Airlines, including flights booked with Southwest and inflight purchases like food, drink, and WiFi.
Southwest partner hotel and vehicle rental partners earn the cardholder 2 points per $1 spent.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card also earns the holder 2 points per $1 spent on purchasing transit products and services, commuting expenses, and even rideshares.
2 points per $1 are also earned when the card is used for some streaming services, in addition to phone, cable, and internet expenses.
All other purchases made with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card that isn’t covered under other bonus categories earn the cardholder 1 point per $1.
Additional points can be earned by shopping via the Rapid Rewards shopping portal site and eating at Dining Rewards network partners.
If you qualify for Southwest Elite Status, you are also given a 25%-point bonus on Southwest purchases for reaching A-List status and a 100% bonus for A-List Preferred.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card gives the cardholder a 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points bonus for opening the account, and additional increments of 1,500 TQPs are earned for each $10,000 in purchases with no limit in accumulation.
Cardholders also receive 7,500 bonus points awarded on each account anniversary, without any spending requirement, which is the most among Southwest rewards cards.
Redeeming rewards for the Rapid Rewards program is relatively straightforward if a little inflexible.
The program does not have any blackout dates or restrictions on eligible flights. When redeeming points, you will be required to pay taxes and fees associated with the award value of the ticket, which start around $6 for domestic one-way flights.
There is no uniform point chart, as the award tickets will be coincident with the approximate cash value of the flight ticket. Since the award value is tethered to prices, the point requirement for more expensive flights while
Each year the cardholder is awarded a $75 Southwest travel credit applied as a statement credit.
It can be used for any Southwest Airlines expenses or purchases, including airfare, pet travel fees, and other day-of-travel expenses, excluding upgrades and in-flight costs.
Each year you are a cardholder, you will receive an automatic birthday gift of 7,500 bonus points.
This perk is active every year and will accumulate whether you have used the card for purchases or not.
With the redemption structure currently in place, this bonus can add a significant head-start to offsetting the annual fee.
Whenever you fly Southwest Airlines, up to four times per year, you can use the perks of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card to obtain a statement credit for the cost of an upgraded boarding.
While Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seating, this perk moves you to an earlier boarding position, allowing you to choose your seat from a wider array of options.
In addition to better seating choices, boarding earlier gives you a better opportunity to use overhead bin space for a carry-on item if you have one.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card does not have any limits or caps on the number of points that can be earned, either per year or overall.
This allows you to use the card for anything and continue earning rewards no matter your points balance. Rewards are earned by the primary cardholder as well as all additional authorized users.
Tier Qualifying Points, or TSPs, are what you earn toward the varying levels of Southwest Elite Status.
This Elite Status is available in two levels, A-List and A-List Preferred, and offers additional or increased perks compared to the base benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
Each $10,000 spent on the account earns you 7,500 TSPs, with the first level of Elite Status, A-List, being awarded at 35,000 and A-List Preferred status awarded at 70,000.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers a more flexible rewards redemption structure since the points are redeemable through the massive network of Chase travel partners, which happens to include Southwest.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® also has a lower annual fee than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, at only $99.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card may be a better fit for those who want a travel rewards card but aren’t strictly loyal to or consistent with only Southwest.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per $1, and any miles earned can be used towards statement credits or travel awards.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also grants a fee credit of up to $100 for applications to either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a powerful rewards card that has no annual fee, and while it offers a huge 5% potential rewards, they do come with some limitations.
It features a very nice $200 bonus after only $500 is spent in the first 3 months.
The card can only earn $1,500 cash back per quarter, and the 5% bonus is applied to rotating categories, so the Chase Freedom Flex℠ doesn’t offer the same unlimited rewards earning potential of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
The Platinum Card® from American Expressfeatures some incredible benefits and bonuses for new cardholders.
They offer 100,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 3 months and bonus point multipliers of up to 10x on categories like restaurants and 5x on Amex Travel purchases.
The Platinum Card® from American Express also offers a wide range of luxury travel benefits like lounge access, concierge service, hotel credits, but the downside is the $695 annual fee.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card can be approved for applicants with credit scores in the good or excellent brackets.
The lowest score able to get approval is 690, depending on various factors, with the approval rate rising in conjunction with elevated scores.
If you are a consistent traveler on Southwest Airlines and tend to use your credit card for most of your spending, then you may find significant value in the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
On the other hand, if you don’t often travel or don’t regularly use the card, you may not find value deep enough to offset the annual fee. The best travel credit card aligns with your spending patterns and habits.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has an annual fee of $149, and there is no fee waiver or intro fee for the first year. Many cardholders find that the benefits far outstrip the annual fee, however.
With the largest earning bonuses for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card coming from purchases directly from Southwest and their hotel and rental partners, this is the idealrewards credit card for anyone who uses Southwest consistently.
Ultimately, you want a credit card that is loaded with premium perks, features, and aligns with your spending habits.